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The Importance of Wedding Programs: Why They're a Must-Have for Your Big Day

When it comes to your wedding programs, many couples find themselves a little lost and unsure of exactly what they should include.  A great way to think about your ceremony programs is to plan them much like you would a program for any other function or large event.

Wedding programs serve as a guide or road map for guests or attendees letting them know what’s happening next, and who’s in the spotlight and giving them an idea of just how long it’s all going to last.

Beyond just the function of a wedding program, in many cases, they also offer a heartfelt keepsake for the family (and the couple) to frame or include in a wedding scrapbook to look back on in the years to come.  That’s why it’s important to include a few essential elements in your programs.


Essential Wedding Program Element 1: A beautiful cover or header

Logan Simple Minimalist Wedding Ceremony Program Booklet

The same way a cover of a book is important or the header on a document is important, the way you begin your wedding program sets the tone for everything else you include.  Depending on your wedding style, you may wish to carry coordinating design elements from your other wedding stationery throughout your program, use your wedding monogram or crest or keep it more simple.

The choice is yours, but as a general rule, you should include your names and the wedding date.  You may also wish to include the ceremony location or a short quote or verse.

Essential Wedding Program Element 2: List the Order of Events

At the most basic, the list of events is simply a list of the elements of your ceremony.  This allows guests to follow along and know how things are progressing.


Depending on the format of your program and the space available, some couples opt to list out not just the elements but song or reading titles, the people participating, etc.  It’s up to you but an important tip is to think about how detailed you want to be when choosing the design and format of your wedding program.


Your wedding officiant should provide you with the ceremony order list which may include some or all of the items below.


  • Processional Music:  this is where you can list the songs wedding party attendants, groom, and bride will be walking down the aisle to.  Typically when listing, you include the name of the song and the artist for the recorded music or you can list the performer is using an organist, quartet or other live music.


  • Welcome and Introduction:  This is where the wedding officiant will welcome your guests and acknowledge the bride and groom for the first time as well as offer a short introduction on the reason everyone has gathered together.


  • Readings:  If you are including one or  more people participating by reading from the Bible or other sources, these would typically be included with cites of the sources and who is reading.


  • Prayers:  for religious ceremonies, listing prayers and even printing the words to significant ones may be helpful and a nice additional detail for those that may not know them from memory.


  • Exchange of Vows:  This one doesn’t require a lot of additional detail (most people are clear on what this is) but including it in the overall order of events is helpful for guests following along.


  • Ring Exchange:  Like the exchange of vows, this one is also pretty clear without a lot of additional detail but it does help guests follow along.


  • Unity Candle, Sand Ceremony, or other meaningful Addition:  If you are including any elements that may not be familiar to all your guests, it’s nice to give your guests a little detail about what’s happening with a brief explanation so they understand the meaning and significance.


  • Pronouncement:  It’s kind of the big moment of the ceremony so yes, you should include it!


  • Recessional Music:  Similar to the processional but in reverse.  If you are keeping the music as a surprise, you don’t have to list out the music.

Essential Wedding Program Element 3: Your Wedding Party

the wedding party

Chances are, a good percentage of your guests won’t know all the people you’ve chosen to be a part of your wedding party.  List each member of your wedding party according to their placement in the lineup or in the family and their role.

If your program has the space, sometimes it’s also nice to include a brief explanation of how each person is connected to you.  For example:

Jenna Tanner – Best friend from college
Kiara Anderson – Sister-in-law of the bride

Again, if space allows, consider including a short detail about how you met your maid of honor or best man.  Consider including how many years your parents or grandparents have been married, etc.  It’s these little added details that make your program more personal and memorable not just for you but for this present at your wedding.

Essential Wedding Program Element 4: Personal Details

unique or personal elements to include on your wedding program

Depending on your own ideas, the theme of your wedding and the other elements you’ve chosen to include in your program, you may opt to include additional elements into your program about the rest of the day, offer a personal thank you, explain a ritual you’ve added to the ceremony, etc.

Here is a list of some ideas of other things to include:

  • A memorial to a family member or important people that have passed away or that cannot attend
  •  A personally written thank you to your guests for attending your day
  • A story about you as a couple, how you met, the proposal, etc.
  • A special dedication
  • Wedding hashtags
  • Quote or verses that are meaningful to you as a couple
  • General quotes or poems about love or marriage
  • Request for audience participation
  • Instructions or details about the reception or the time between the ceremony and reception such as directions, a timeline, where to go for the photos, etc.

More Essential Elements to Consider for your Wedding Program

other elements to consider for your wedding programs

While the elements of your wedding program should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to planning for them, you also need to spend some time thinking about the overall look and feel.

Your wedding guests already have an idea what to expect on your wedding day from the invitations but your program now sets the tone for what’s to come on the actual day.  It helps guests get in the right mood for the overall feel of the day.  A more formal or traditional program will feel a lot different than one that features whimsical artwork, a couple of cute jokes, or fraternity nicknames.

You also want to consider things like the fonts you use, the paper, and the shape.  Programs aren’t just simple booklets anymore.  From fans for hot summer weddings to flat panel programs that tend to be more simple to custom shapes or sizes.  Fonts can also set a tone from fun and whimsical to traditional or formal.  Some script fonts can also be hard to read to keep all those things mind.


Your wedding programs are just a piece of the many details that go into making your wedding day yours.  It is an important detail to get right though because it serves as a guideline for guests as well as a memento long after the day is over.  That’s why it’s important to take the time to really make your wedding program special.

essential elements to include in your wedding programs